The Effect of Defoliation Interval on the Yield and Seed Production Characteristics of Subterranean Clover

Robert A. Lane, K. H. Lin, K. E. Lege


A two-year study was conducted at Huntsville, Texas on a bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon) pasture overseeded to subterranean clover (Trifolium subterraneum cv. Mt. Barker). A 0.25 m sq (2.7 ft sq) quadrat from a 2.25m sq (24.5 ft sq) caged area was hand-clipped to a height of 4 cm (1.5 in) at 7-, 14-, and 30-day intervals to determine the effect of clipping frequency on sward and clover dry matter production, seed yield, seed size, germination percentage, and hard seed content. The 7-day clipping interval significantly reduced total seasonal sward dry matter production in 1988 (a dry spring), but not in 1989. Clover dry matter production was also reduced with the 7-day treatment in 1988, but actually increased in 1989. Apparently, the more frequent clipping treatment favored the clover over grasses when precipitation was adequate early in the growing season. Total seed production was lowest for the 30-day clipping treatment in both years. The 7-day clipping treatment produced greater amounds of seed than either of the other two clipping treatments in both 1988 and 1989. Though differences in high temperature germination percentage (lack of hard seededness) were not detected between treatments in either year, 1988 seed had significantly higher germination percentages than 1989 seed.


defoliation; bermudagrass; subterranean clover

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